I could have sworn that I blogged about this topic before, but I couldn't find an entry for it. So here it is anyway.
I knew many people who started doing this with their CDs in the 1990s, and do it now with their DVDs. Take the discs out, and shove them into disc binders, like this one:
It sure saves space.
So why doesn't everybody do it? There are a few obvious reasons. Not everybody wants to have their music or movie collection shoved into books where they can't see them. It's easier to browse through CDs or DVDs when they're displayed on a shelf, much like books. Also, sometimes we want the cases along with their booklets, to know the track-listing or other information. Personally, I find some appeal in the whole ritual of putting in a CD (or in my earlier days, a cassette or vinyl record) while you read the liners notes, examine the front cover and all that.
Regardless, I have hundreds of DVDs and finally decided to move most of them to binders, especially after running out of shelf space. Now I have a big box of empty DVD cases I can leave in storage, while a mere three binders sit on my shelf.
But before you start going through your entire multimedia collection and shove hundreds of discs into sheets, here's some advice:
- Don't run out and buy the first disc binder you see in the store.
Chances are, it's overly priced and might not hold all of the discs you want. You have more than one option. Why buy a $40 case that only holds 50 discs, when you can conceivably find one that holds four times as many discs at half the price?
- Decide on how you want to sort these.
You may already have your DVDs or CDs arranged on the shelf in some ordered way: grouped by genre, sorted by alphabetical order, etc. If so, it shouldn't be hard to preserve this order when the discs are in the sheets. But this is something worth deciding NOW. You don't want to spend hours moving discs into sheets, only to then realize that you don't like the order they're in!
- Go with a ringed (loose-leaf) binder.
I've seen some disc binders that have the sheets permanently attached to the binder itself, which means you can't swap around sheets or add more. I recommend avoiding these, because they could prove to be a pain in the ass whenever you need to rearrange things.
For example, imagine if you had 20 sheets of discs all filled with your movies arranged in alphabetical order, then you buy a new movie that begins with the letter "B". That means if you want to keep things ordered, you have to take out ALL of the discs that come after it in alphabetical order, and move each of them over one slot, so that you can fit your new movie in where it belongs. You don't want this! Instead, use a binder with rings you can open and close, so that you can just add an extra empty sheet where you need it. Likewise, don't fill every sheet to its capacity; leave empty spaces here and there to make this easier when it happens.
- Not all sheets are the same.
Some sheets hold more discs than others. Some are designed to hold CDs along with their little square booklets. Some others are designed to hold DVDs and their taller booklets. Personally, I like using the big sheets that each hold 8 discs: 4 on the front, and 4 on the back. This way a pack of just 25 sheets will hold 200 discs.
Not all sheets are of the same quality either. Some are made more cheaply than others, or seem like they could potentially scratch the disc. So you don't necessarily want to go with the cheapest. I recommend Vaultz brand sheets, which is what I use. Some people don't like these because they're side-loading and not top-loading, but they work fine for me.
- Buying binders and sheets separately may be cheaper.
Again, you don't necsesarily need to get a $40 CaseLogic binder at Staples. In fact, chances are you may not even have to buy a binder. Ask people you know who work in an office: they usually have more than their own share of 3-ring binders lying around, to the point where they sometimes just throw them out to make room. I found some nice zipper binders that are normally made to withstand the beatings of school. They keep the dust out. As for sheets, try eBay to look for the best deals. Do a seach for something like "cd binder sleeve" or "dvd binder sheets". And of course, make sure they're the right size for your binder!